Get a good look at the Democratic keynote speaker, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, Tuesday night? Because you’ll probably be seeing a lot of that face in Washington soon.
Well, not his face, per se: That of his identical twin brother, Joaquin Castro, a front-runner for a Texas congressional seat.
No need to adjust your television set; you were not seeing double. The unusual political rising-star story that has beguiled Texas for the past decade went national Tuesday night, when Joaquin took the stage to introduce Julián before his prime-time speech. (Text of Julián Castro’s keynote address)
Jealous that your brother got the marquee speaking gig? Joaquin, 37, a state legislator since 2002, smiled and shook his head. The two were hugely competitive with each other in their early school days, but “as we’ve matured, we’ve been very supportive of each other,” Joaquin said.
We caught up with Joaquin late Monday as he made the rounds of supporters at a pre-convention party honoring the Latino caucus. He arrived in town Saturday to prepare for the big Castro brothers debut. Okay, hate to ask the obvious question, but . . .
“I’m a little better-looking,” joked Joaquin, in what sounded like a well-worn answer.
And there’s the matter of the left hand, he noted: “No wedding ring.” Julián has been married for five years to Erica Lira Castro. Joaquin came to Charlotte this week with his model-gorgeous girlfriend, Anna Flores, who works for a San Antonio tech company.
Born via C-section, Julián is “older by a minute,” and he was the first of the two to get the bug for politics, Joaquin said. Not by much, though: At Stanford, they both got the top number of votes in an election for undergraduate senate. While Julián was the first to run for office — city council in 2001 — Joaquin ran for the statehouse a year later. In running for the seat vacated by retiring Rep. Charlie González, Joaquin is facing favorable demographics, a district that is about 58 percent Democratic.
In the hothouse world of Harvard Law, from which the Castros graduated in 2000, there was a term for ambitious hotshots who raced to be the first to raise their hands in class: gunners.
“They were not gunners,” said a classmate and friend of the twins (who asked not to be identified because of his politically neutral job). “They were quiet, reserved. Everyone liked them.”
Quiet, reserved — and now in politics?
“We enjoy being around people,” Joaquin explained. Their parents were politically active, and they grew up watching their mother’s involvement as an organizer of the Latino political party La Raza Unida.
For Tuesday night’s podium appearance, the brothers had settled on wearing navy blue suits, Joaquin said, but “Julián told me he wants to wear the blue tie.” Beyond that — have they gamed out which one will run for Senate, which for governor and so on?
“We haven’t,” he said, smiling. Well, don’t you think you should? “No plans so far.”
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